Tranistion from primary to secondary Background

Transitions are a part of the human experience they occur throughout our lives, they enable us to grow and develop as human beings.  Often transitions are seamless while others can be challenging and it is useful to have support to enable successful transition to be achieved.
Children’s development into adulthood is made up of a series of transitions that enable their emotional and intellectual growth and development and a sense of self  and place.   Every transition has particular challenges, new levels of expectations, new friends, new location, rules and behaviours and an ever evolving skill set.  Each new transition builds on the previous range of experiences and the quality of those experiences impact on the transition experience.  

The transition from primary school to secondary school poses particular challenges to young people it is the end usually of an eight year cycle where the child has established a set of friends an understanding of a system, curriculum and teaching methodology. The 6th class child is the senior child in the system.

Some 57,000 children transfer from first to second level education in Ireland annually and for the majority of these children that transition is successful i.e., they continue to participate and complete Junior and Senior cycles in second level. However, there is a significant minority of children mainly from disadvantaged areas who struggle with this transition and effectively disengage from full-time education.

  • Almost all 13-year-olds had made the transition to second-level education and were broadly positive about their school. However, important gender and social background differences had emerged in relation to school engagement.
  • Boys had more negative attitudes to school, and were more likely to misbehave at school and to experience negative interactions with their teachers than girls.
  • Those 13-year-olds from professional/managerial, high-income and highly educated households had more positive interaction with teachers, lower levels of misbehaviour and more positive attitudes to school.
  • These gender and social background differences are of policy concern, given the importance of school engagement for longer-term achievement and retention.”

Growing Up in Ireland: Second Wave School Experiences among 13-year-olds




Moving up to Year 7 Hints and tips in this video clip! This UK  video produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families to give you and yopur parents an idea about the kinds of issues you might face in secondary school. More importantly, it gives you loads of hints and tips to make the experience a success!


The following links provide a general background to primary to secondary transitions.

  1. Transition from primary school to secondary school poses particular challenges
    • This page looks at pre amd post transition issues and What Works" in transition programmes

  2. Drivers of Change. The drivers of change describe four particular active drivers of change in the policy and practice arena in Ireland
    • Research:
    • Absenteeism.
    • Literacy Levels.
    • Growing up in Ireland.
  3. Policy and Practice Frames.